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Home > Begonian > Volume 69 (July/August 2002)

Begonias: Treasure of the Tropics
by Freda Holley

Rainy weather couldn't dampen the spirits of the members of the Barkley Branch as they brought in their entries and sale plants for the big annual show and sale. As it turned out, rain was just the thing to bring in a public who couldn't be out working in their yards anyway.

And what a show it was! Show Chairman Mark Howery led the branch in putting together an outstanding show and Dianna Wilkerson did an astonishing job at making the plant sale super great. Thanks to good write-ups in the local papers as well as advertising by the group at other garden events in the spring, the public showed up in good numbers. By the end of the weekend, 10 new members plus 4 children had been added.

Of particular note, the show this year had great variety. There were good samplings of both species and hybrids with just about every division and class of begonias being represented. With over 150 entries it was a BIG show!

Rhizomatous begonias are traditionally the largest category of show plants because at this time of the year they are at their best. This year was no exception. There were many old favorites: B. 'Art Hodes', 'Shiloh', 'Cathedral', crassicaulis, 'Page 13', and 'Freddie'. But there were also new, less frequently seen plants such as B. 'Oliver Twist' and 'Careless Whisper'. Gene Salisbury's B. 'Virginia Jens' was amazing.

Below is Gene Salisbury's B. 'Virginia Jens' (left), B. 'Oliver Twist' (top) and B. 'Curly Face', winners all...
B.'Virgina Jens' B.'Oliver Twist'
B.'Curly Face'

Thanks to Charles Henthorne there was an excellent display of terrarium begonias including B. xanthena var. picta, leprosa, 'Buttercup', and 'Bebe'.

Hybrids created in Oklahoma are always an important feature of any show here and they were well represented this time. There were a number of Dorothy Caviness creations on display. Dorothy's hybrids are particularly noted for their unusualness and she is perhaps best known for her B. 'Kathlyn Calvert', the deeply spiraled leaf cane. At this show, Gene Salisbury exhibited one of his favorites of hers, her huge hybrid that is a B. chitoensis look alike that has not been named. Gene also showed the very large B. 'Curly Face' (B. 'Harbison Canyon' x 'Joe Hayden'), created by Freda Holley and another of her hybrids grown by Dianna Wilkerson took Best of Show -- B. 'Holley Moon' (B. carrieae x nelumbiifolia). She also has a new hybrid that took Best New Introduction - B. 'Holley's Heartfelt' (B. 'Lana' x platanifolia).

Nancy Slagle made sure that we saw begonias in a garden setting with other plants. Her Dish Garden won a blue ribbon and Best of Division for her.

Dianna Wilkerson not only grew the Best of Show Winner, she took the Sweepstakes Award with a total of 21 blue ribbons. She had a large number of beautiful species on display including a B. loranthoides in bloom and with a seed pod forming, a gorgeous B. venosa, and a lush B. holtonis.

Jim Estes, breathless from a trip to Hawaii, still managed to take Best Species with an artful B. echinosepala

This was a show of which not only the Branch, but ABS could be proud.

B. 'Holley Moon' B. venosa
Above left, Dianna Wilkerson's Best of Show winner B. 'Holley Moon' and, above right, her B. venosa

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